Like many of you reading this, I’m a designer with lots of other stuff on my plate. I start my day by tinkering with a website concept. Then I brainstorm brand strategy and nerd out on my typeface. And that’s only half of it. I use every possibility to automate my routine and work smarter, not harder. And removing backgrounds is a draining part of the design work I have to deal with. So I got excited when I discovered background remover tools. But will any of them manage without requiring me to patch up mistakes? Is there something too hard or impossible for them? Could they really save time for me?
So I played around with some online background removers to see how they work. Those were:
There’s one job they’re all more or less good at. And that’s cutting an object from images that have:
This is an example of a simple doggo pic with a solid background. That guy apparently had a professional photographer. And here are the results of the background-removing tools.
The result was almost the same for all four. You can expect great results if a photo meets the above requirements. The main difference is the output image size and quality. Remove.bg and PhotoScissors give you low-resolution images if you don’t pay. And Clipping Magic… well, it’s the screenshot because you can’t download anything unless you pay. While Background Remover provides you with a high-res image for free.
Sometimes I have a series of images to take an object from. Sure thing, I’d prefer to use a tool that provides the simplest extraction. If I know what it can do, I can keep an eye out for pictures that will work best with it.
So, say you’re working with a batch of staff photos. And there it is, an employee with an envy-inducing lumberjack beard or a gorgeous afro. Objects of wonder, yes, but a lot of work for a designer! Let’s look at how these removers will handle hair.
Remove.bg, Clipping Magic, and Background Remover returned decent results. PhotoScissors did a good job with the hair, but, for some reason, it cut off the body. Though it has a built-in tool to fix it, I left it as is since I’m comparing the results you can get without using extra tools.
And what if you need to handle lots of such photos? With Background Remover by Icons8, you upload them at once, and – voila – they’re ready. Piece of cake! Moreover, bulk upload is available under a free plan. In fact, this service is totally free. The only thing you need is to register. The other participants of the race provide bulk upload to paid users only.
Then I tested the removers with an epic mountain range I needed to make a collage. It looks like a simple task, with a clear-cut background. At least to the human eye. But it turned out to be difficult for AI due to the uneven snowy sections and tricky forest. Check out how all the tools executed this task.
Remove.bg did great with the border. Clipping Magic did a good job, but the border looks a little bit too harsh to me. PhotoScissors cut everything away and left only the central part. And Background Remover worked well, made a smooth border, and even kept the hardly visible daytime moon in place.
The next treat I fed to my ‘guinea pigs’ was a tricky balloon dog. Dark edges and shallow contrast between the object and the background. How do you like it now, background-removing tools?
Surprisingly enough, all removers digested it quite well. Remove.bg and Clipping Magic were accurate but cut out some small glossy parts. Photoscissors messed up with legs and made a big hole in a dog’s neck. Background Remover by Icons8 did a good job except for some tiny details, and it was the only tool that made no holes in the poor dog’s body.
Finally, I took an image that would be steep even for the classiest tool: a dude in greyish clothes sitting in a camping chair. On a background of wet, dirt-colored sand and cold-lit water. Low contrast, plenty of details topped by the guy’s eyewear with lens invisible against the water. Would any of the removers cope with this task? Only one way to find out…
Well, nobody’s perfect. That was really a hard nut to crack. All the background removers made mistakes that will require some skills and time to fix. Сall it a draw.
No one and most of them.
Each app has its own nuances. Check out the summary of my tests with online background removers below.
A simple and fast tool with good results, but be ready to pay if you need large images.
Personal rating: 7/10
Good results and a set of tools that you can use to correct the resulting image. Though it takes time to understand how to use them properly. And you cannot download even a low-res result for free. You’ll have to pay to get rid of watermarks.
Personal rating: 8/10
Mediocre results without built-in tools to correct the outcome. And those tools all are less handy to me than the Clipping Magic ones. The app allows free downloading of low-res (600×400 px) images only, and you’ll have to pay for larger sizes.
Personal rating: 6/10
It is my favorite when I need a one-time neat and rapid cut. Yes, it was not perfect with some pictures, but I’m sure that this new kid on the block (launched in December 2020) is constantly learning and will become only better over time. This tool charmed me with its uncluttered interface. Moreover, this remover offers bulk upload functionality and is absolutely free. It requires just a registration for all of these perks.
Personal rating: 9/10
As for me, my choice is Background Remover by Icons8. I’ve been using it for several months and know what kind of photos I can easily delegate to it. It perfectly copes with most of the background-removing tasks, and it’s free.
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